How to Be An Ally for Others with Simon T. Bailey

How to Be An Ally for Others with Simon T. Bailey

Have you heard the phrase “kindness: pass it on”? Author, keynote speaker and success coach Simon T. Bailey joined In the Details host Karen Allen to discuss the value of collaboration, how to find success in the workplace, how he’s conquered failures and challenges and how men can uplift and support women.

Passing on kindness

When Simon was building up his brand as an entrepreneur, he had several mentors that not only gave him a hand up, but also a handout. Their help and knowledge cut down his learning curve, showed him what mistakes to avoid and helped him outline key things to do. While he certainly added his own flavor to their instruction, he always remembered how kind those people were and made it a point to pass it along to others, with no strings attached. What a great lesson we can all incorporate into our own lives.

How to find success

Simon provided three tips for finding success in whatever career you pursue. First, develop the ability to learn, unlearn and relearn. Whether that’s engaging in additional reading or studying different business models, don’t settle for the status quo. Two, don’t be afraid to fail. Failure can be another opportunity for reinvention. Finally, surround yourself with individuals who are smarter than you. That will help you see things differently and be able to move yourself in a fresh direction.

Be authentically you

Simon believes one of his biggest failures occurred when he first began keynote speaking. Initially he modeled his delivery after a famous speaker, and found that by trying to mimic him instead of being himself, he was unable to get to the next level. It’s important to cut the inauthenticity because being yourself will net you the greatest success.

Collaborate, don’t compete

When you have an expansive or abundant mindset, you allow room to collaborate and build off of other people’s work, which produces a larger ripple effect. If you feel like others are already sharing the same message, find a segment that resonates with you and take it in a different direction. Your interpretation or engagement with the material will be unique to you, and while you’ll give credit for the inspiring work or person, you’ll be able to add your own seasoning to it. The more you collaborate with others rather than competing with them, the more everyone rises. You will increase productivity and get things done more quickly because you can leverage minds in the moment.

How women can succeed at work

With so many workplaces still male-dominated, Simon believes it’s imperative for women to find a man at work who believes in them and can act as their advocate, ally or sponsor. It’s not about you or them; it’s about how your ally can help extend their credibility and visibility to you. It’s also important that you constantly stay in dialogue and ask for feedback, and tell others how this individual has helped you to process workplace issues and/or advance. You might consider having a debrief after key experiences to determine what you did well and what you would do differently next time.

How men can be an ally

There are many ways men can act as advocates for women at work. First, it’s important that men take notice and question meetings that don’t have women around the table. If your team is putting a bid out for a contract or opportunity, observe whether or not women are a part of the bid. It’s also critical to ask if women are being paid fairly or on par with their male counterparts, since they bring competence, intelligence and expertise to their roles. Men can also ask women in the workplace how they can best help them move forward in their business.

You should always be respectful to one another; men and women receive and communicate information differently. Remember that a person doesn’t often see you as you are, but rather as they are, or from their perspective. By working together, appreciating the contributions of all, and mentoring one another, you’ll advance the goals of your organization and your personal career goals as well.

Consider building a circle of trust with individuals of different genders, and discuss the hot button issues where you work and live. Think about what you can do to help solve them, and realize that while men can be more linear in their thinking, women often take a 360-degree approach. Both are valuable.

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Jill McDonnell is a Chicago-based content writer and communications professional. She has a bachelor's degree in magazine journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a master's degree in public relations and advertising from DePaul University. She is currently at work on a psychological thriller novel.

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